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Rock, rap and nation: Eclectic first weekend at CityFolk competition

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Performing between a rock act and a hip-hop hitmaker was a primary for Canadian nation star Tim Hicks, who shared the stage at CityFolk on Saturday night time with Can-rock scorcher JJ Wilde and social gathering rap purveyor T-Ache. 

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“I by no means thought I’d ever get to play on a invoice like this,” remarked the Juno-winning troubadour from Southern Ontario throughout his pleasing set. “You bought a rock act, a rustic act and a pop act, and what a beautiful factor that’s, particularly in any case we’ve been via within the final couple of years. 

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“What I really like about this sort of scenario,” he added, “regardless of the place you’re from or who you’re right here to see, we’re all right here for a similar factor: to have a very good time and watch some dwell music. Am I proper?”

The group of a number of thousand roared in settlement as Hicks broke into the tune What A Music Ought to Do, an uplifting tune that celebrates the ability of music with an uncomplicated, singalong refrain. 

Tim Hicks performing at the 2022 edition of the CityFolk Festival at Lansdowne Park.
Tim Hicks performing on the 2022 version of the CityFolk Competition at Lansdowne Park. Photograph by Sean Sisk /CITYFOLK/HANDOUT

It was a memorable second in a profitable first weekend of the pared-down, pandemic-wary version of CityFolk, which attracted greater than 15,000 individuals to the Nice Garden at Lansdowne Park over three evenings, an honest turnout contemplating the plethora of actions within the metropolis. There was a RedBlacks soccer sport at Lansdowne Saturday, the Latin Sparks Competition at LeBreton Flats Park, Ottawa Comicon at EY Centre and a Chris Stapleton live performance on the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday, to call just a few of the most important occasions. 

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At CityFolk, along with spreading the music over two weekends, together with this coming weekend, a big side this 12 months is the truth that all the motion takes place on one enormous out of doors stage, as a substitute of dividing the music between indoor and out of doors phases. Whereas the one stage isn’t fairly as huge as the primary stage at Bluesfest, it actually dominates the positioning, permitting for a much bigger manufacturing when it comes to sound, lights and video screens. It’s additionally branded the TD Stage, reflecting a brand new company sponsorship deal.

T-Pain performing at the 2022 edition of the CityFolk Festival at Lansdowne Park.
T-Ache performing on the 2022 version of the CityFolk Competition at Lansdowne Park. Photograph by Sean Sisk /CITYFOLK/HANDOUT

“The considering on having one stage was, ‘Let’s pare it down. Something we are able to simplify, let’s do it,’” stated Mark Monahan, government director of CityFolk and its larger sister competition, Bluesfest, noting that planning for CityFolk happened final winter when the destiny of dwell occasions was nonetheless unsure amid a wave of COVID-19 infections. 

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“We had no thought if we may do it once more so the purpose was to not be too formidable. It was simply, ‘What is important?’ and our conclusion was it’s the music, so don’t cease spending on the artists or manufacturing,” he stated. 

The technique made for some nice concert events, though the programming itself moved the competition additional away from its roots because the Ottawa People Competition, with a roster of headliners that represented a mess of musical genres. On Thursday, fast-rising American nation star Zach Bryan enthralled an at-capacity crowd of younger imbibers, whereas Friday noticed Kingston rockers The Superb Sons sweeten their anthems by stretching them out and including some soul to the crunch.

JJ Wilde performing at the 2022 edition of the CityFolk Festival at Lansdowne Park.
JJ Wilde performing on the 2022 version of the CityFolk Competition at Lansdowne Park. Photograph by Sean Sisk /CITYFOLK/HANDOUT

Highlights of the weekend’s opening acts included a profession peak of a set by Ottawa’s Kathleen Edwards on Thursday, a raucous blues-rock exercise from the duo of The Blue Stones on Friday and a high-octane blast of rock from Kitchener dynamo JJ Wilde and her band on Saturday. 

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As for the Saturday-night finale with T-Ache, the entertainer had his work minimize out for him: he carried out solo, knocking out sleaze-draped membership bangers like I’m in Love with a Stripper, Bartender, Kiss Kiss and That’s Simply Tricks to backing tracks, and slicing some slick choreography on the identical time. 

Evidently, because of the exertion of the efficiency, the Floridian took breaks between songs, disappearing from the stage and leaving a darkish, awkward lull that put a damper on the social gathering and prompted the group to chant his title as if questioning the place he went. 

It may need been a disappointing present if not for the dazzling lights, booming sound and the artist’s larger-than-life character.

The second weekend of CityFolk continues Sept. 15-17 and sports activities a much more cohesive, roots-music-based lineup, with Matt Andersen, Matt Mays and The File Firm on Thursday; Orville Peck, Whitehorse and Tré Burt on Friday; and John Fogerty, Sarah Harmer and Shovels & Rope on Saturday. 

For tickets and knowledge, go to cityfolkfestival.com.

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